Alcohol. I do not indulge in it. I do not drink beer, wine, vodka, champagne, or any other alcoholic beverage.
Marijuana. I do not smoke it. I do not take heroin, cocaine, crack, ecstasy, LSD, orany form of narcotics or barbituates.
Sex. I do not engage in it. I do not have casual sexual relations with women.
Humility. I am humble. I am not arrogant, nor am I a braggart. I recognize my own flaws and know my place. My ego does not drive my actions, and I recognize with clarity my status and my actions, without inflating or lessening its value.
Respect. I am respectful. I am polite and regard others with respect. I recognize the value of other people, and I act as such in every day of my life. I follow the golden rule by treating others as I would like to be treated. I appreciate everyone’s worth as a fellow human being, from the man who makes my deli sandwich to the police officers who risk their lives daily to protect us.
Industriousness. I am a man of industry. I believe in hard work and I value those who have a good work ethic.
I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs, I don’t have casual sex. I am a man of humility and respect. It’s not because I am a Mormon. I have never abided by a particular system of rules. I find that most people in this day and age only adhere to a certain brand of virtue because of their religion. Very rarely do I find people who abstain from sex, drugs, and alcohol (yes, all three of them) of their own accord. More often than not, men who are supposedly religious will be tempted to drink, and it is the prospect of sinning that controls such impulses. Rare is the man who controls himself with a strength that comes from within. Gone are the days of truly manly men who believed in hard work, discipline, and sacrifice. As Tony Soprano always liked to quip, “What happened to the strong silent type?”
I never gave much thought to it really. I didn’t think anything of my values, only that I was at odds of finding a kindred spirit in the modern culture. But I stumbled upon The Art of Manliness and read their series on leading a Virtuous Life. Apparently, according to Ben Franklin, I am largely a virtuous man.
All the intellectuals and other smart folks out there can defend casual “beneficial” sex all they want. But here’s the thing. Back before prophylactics were invented, when a man wanted to have sex with a woman, and the woman felt the same way, they had sex and there began the creation of a new life. There’s nothing really to debate there. Before the invention of condoms and birth control pills, when two people had sex the woman generally got pregnant, and now the two became a family of three, whether or not they liked it. Therefore, the act of having sex has powerful implications. One should have a healthy respect for such an act. The Art of Manliness has written an article on chastity that I agree with on nearly all points.
Work is good. An honest day’s work is an honest day’s pay. Hard work is rewarding. But nobody wants to work any more. They want a handout. Take the retail field. How many retail workers do you see who actually work hard and like their job? How many rude and unmotivated workers do you come across in shopping venues all across America? It’s a shame.
I have done my stint in the retail world. It can be draining and your manager will probably be a prick. But hard work pays for itself. One day, when I was working in Blockbuster Video, I was shelving the videos I sorted earlier. A young couple came in looking for some horror film. They asked me where it was, and I attempted to find it for them. We found the display box, but the video wasn’t there. They were a little disappointed but thanked me for my help. As my work brought me to the horror section, I noticed that the video the couple wanted was in my cart. I took it in my hand and found them, handed it over. They were so surprised and expressed their delight.
The smiles on their faces and their genuine gratitude was all the satisfaction I needed. I got paid a pittance, but I was always a good worker. I was never late, I completed my tasks in a timely fashion, and I dealt with customers in a professional and friendly manner. I brought this good work ethic with me to all of my jobs.
What I hate seeing and being around are pikers. I hate people who don’t have any pride in their work. Those who wear their work uniforms sloppily, those who don’t care to educatethemselvesin even the most basic parts of their work, those who are unprofessional: I cannot stand these people. Those who want to leave work as soon as the hour hand hits five, I have no respect for. Incompetence, ignorance, and unprofessionalism are huge annoyances in my book.
I believe I’ve said this before, but I find that America is lacking real men. Men who are strong, honest, and hard working. It disturbs me that our culture has become so permissive. My uncle, with whom I share no blood relation, had expressed permissiveness where I expressed fury. I had discussed with him a fight that I had with my brother over the topic of drinking (noting that my brother is under 21). Even my mother and father were more lax than I would’ve wanted them to be. My uncle described a short anecdote where a man who comes home from a hard day of work would have a couple of beers to “take the edge off” as he said. I was shocked that he would condone such behavior.
I can understand social drinking. I don’t really condone it. You can always have a Coke, and though it may be one of the most overpriced Cokes you will have ever had, it is a very available choice. But when it comes to altering one’s mood through the use of substances, I draw the line. Real men don’t resort to the bottle when times get tough. I realized at that moment that, being over the age of 21, I could very easily drown my troubles away whenver I wanted. I could go to the liquor store not four blocks away and purchase various bottles of alcohol to get drunk whenever things have gotten tough. And there is no doubt in my mind that I could’ve “used a drink” on many an occassion. But I never indulged. It never even crossed my mind.
I have never consumed alcohol, or any other substances, in order to alter my mood. My uncle tried to defend the drinking of alcohol by likening it to people who eat chocolate to feel better. It was a lame attempt, and I was rather disappointed in him because he’s actually a smart guy. Are you going to tell me that eating chocolate or some other comfort food (like mashed potatoes) is the same as downing a whole bottle of whiskey?
Here’s my stance on alcohol. I can accept its consumption. However, the reason behind its consumption must not have anything to do with altering one’s mood. For example, on my date with Katie, she had expressed that she liked red wine because it tasted good. Now, she’s only 20, making her consumption of alcohol illegal. But I’m not one for arbitrary numbers, so it was fine. My own personal guage of whether or not one should be allowed to drink is their maturity, not the number of years lived. But it’s mostly context that guides the way I judge someone: the context and reasons for drinking are just as important to me. Yes, I am judgmental in this aspect, and I do not shy away from saying this.
Why don’t I drink? I don’t like the effect alcohol has on me. I don’t like the sensations that are brought about. And though I have never been drunk, I never intend on becoming inebriated, intoxicated to the point where I cannot think or walk straight.
A Dying Breed
Finding those who hold the same values that I have is getting to be quite rare. I believe I am of a dying breed: a man who has strength and discipline, kindness and generosity, humility and respect, all without the need for some omniscient and omnipresent deity to keep him in check. People get on their knees and pray at night, thanking God for the nourishment they had received that day, expressing gratitude for their safety, the roof over their head. I do not need to pray to remember that I could be much worse off. When people are faced with the temptation of carnal pleasures, they often look to God to give them strength to stave off such temptations. They might even frame it as a test from the Almighty Himself. I do not need to look to the heavens to resist: I look within. There are times when young people are influenced by their peers to take drugs or to drink alcohol in order to have a good time. Some of these young people reach towards their neck and rub the cross that adorns it, reminding themselves that they are a good Christian or Catholic. This protects them from imbibing in such substances.
I have no cross, I have no God. I have me. I do not drink because it is my own will. I do not smoke tobacco or marijuana because it is my choice. I am not obeying any system that is enforced from without. I stand in this world against a culture that permits sex, drugs, and alcohol. I stand in this world against a culture that wants something for nothing, in a world that is crumbling before my very eyes. And it is tiring.
Points of Interest: The Virtuous Life: Chastity and Sexuality – [PDF]